For the first of our two Christmas extravaganzas this month (this one was at The Paradise in Kensal Green), Dr Sketchy’s glamorous promoter and stage manager Clare Marie emerged from behind the scenes to emcee the night herself. Marianne Cheesecake (who’s done three Dr Sketchy’s in a row and is starting to feel like Dr Sketchy’s burlesque artiste in residence!) charmed the crowd with a great Santa’s little helper routine in green sequins. Considering it was a Christmas spectacular, we spiced things up with a grand total of four beautiful models: Marianne Cheesecake, Ruka, Violetta and Ellie.
Later on there was high drama when a woman in the audience accidentally set her hair on fire! She was leaning back to get a good photo of the performers onstage and leaned right back into the candle on the table behind her! I was DJ’ing and distracted, when I heard a woman scream, there was a puff of smoke and suddenly the air was filled with the stench of scorched hair. What was cartoon-like was the people surrounding her spotted her hair was on fire before she did and started screaming. She was initially oblivious. Horrifying, but mercifully she wasn’t hurt or even lost much hair! Also luckily it happened toward the end of the night. Once we realized she was OK we tried to get on with the rest of the show and pretend nothing had happened, but it was hard to ignore the smell of singed hair. She even said, "I feel like Michael Jackson!" She also said she was wearing lots of hairspray -- it could have been much worse. It was a very John Waters moment, actually! So please remember the hazards of combining long hair and candles this Christmas season, ladies.
Musically, it was a great opportunity to go heavy on the abrasive kitsch Christmas tunes. Things started off quite elegantly, with the focus on 1950s cool jazz (Chet Baker’s Christmas album – think Christmas standards played at sultry junkie tempo) and exotica / lounge (an ethereal Martin Denny track, a bossa nova interpretation of “Jingle Bells”, Marlene Dietrich huskily exhaling Christmas carols while still sounding like she’s straddling a chair backwards and wearing fishnet stockings). Later on I ramped up the campiness and sleaze appeal: Christmas novelty songs,Christmas doo wop, Christmas surf instrumentals, Christmas raunch (Mae West’s 1966 Christmas album),Christmas rockabilly (Elvis Presely, Billy Fury, Jack Scott), Christmas rhythm & blues (Little Esther, Dinah Washington), glitzy Vegas Christmas (Wayne Newton, Dean Martin), sex kitten Christmas (Julie London, Eartha Kitt), plus other oddities and curiousities.
Our next Christmas Dr Sketchy will be at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on 22 December – I’ll inevitably play the same tracks, but in a different order!
Christmas Song - Chet Baker That's What I Want for Christms - Nancy Wilson I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus / Jingle Bells Bossa Nova - Eddie Dunstedter Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Lena Horne The First Snowfall - The Coctails Candles Glowing - Marlene Dietrich Exotic Night - Martin Denny Let Christmas Ring - The Coolbreezers Santa! Don't Pass Me By - Jimmy Donley Christmas Island - Bob Atcher & The Dinning Sisters Silent Night - Dinah Washington My Christmas Prayer - Billy Fury Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me - Elvis Presley Merry Christmas Baby - Mae West Sleighbells, Reindeer and Snow - Rita Faye Wilson Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Mambo - Billy May Brown Christmas - El Vez Jingle Bells - The Vel Mares Jingle Bell Rock - Wayne Newton I'm Gettin' Nothin' for Christmas - Eartha Kitt Christmas Wish - El Vez Far Away Christmas Blues - Little Esther Warm December - Julie London I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Billie Holiday Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley Ole Santa - Dinah Washington There's Trouble Brewin' - Jack Scott Santa Baby - Mae West Christmas Time Is Coming - Stormy Weather What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Nancy Wilson Happy Holidays - Peggy Lee Fat Daddy - Fat Daddy All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth - Nat King Cole Have a Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas - Ruby Wright Sleigh Ride / Jingle Bells - Al Caiola & Riz Ortolani / Jimmy McGriff Jingle Bells - Gene Autrey Little Drummer Boy - Marlene Dietrich Snowfall / Snowfall Cha Cha Cha - George Shearing / Billy May I'd Like You for Christmas - Julie London Christmas in Jail - The Youngsters The Christmas Waltz - Nancy Wilson Blues for Christmas - John Lee Hooker Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me - Mae West Christmas Time Is Here - El Vez Christmas Kisses - Ray Anthony Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Julie London Baby It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin Everybody's Waitin' for the Man with the Bag - Kay Starr Frosty the Snowman - The Ventures Jingle Bells / Jingle Bell Rock - Hollyridge Strings Here Comes Santa Claus - Elvis Presley I Wish You a Merry Christmas - Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva Let It Snow - Wayne Newton This Year's Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Essential Christmas viewing ... John Waters' 1974 classick "Female Trouble":
"I hate you, I hate this house and I hate Christmas!"